Former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has backed 'top class' John Stones to step up and become a key player for his old club, as long as he can find some consistency.
Stones has had a difficult 2019, struggling with both form and fitness issues. The 25-year-old fell out of favour in the latter stages of last season, with Pep Guardiola opting to play Kompany and Aymeric Laporte ahead of him in central defence, and he has been unable to push on so far during the current campaign, missing the last three games with a thigh injury.
However, with Kompany having departed over the summer, and Laporte picking up a knee injury prior to the international break which will keep him out until the new year, Stones now has an opportunity to establish himself as a first-team regular.
Kompany has backed him to take that chance and expects him to reach his potential by getting a run of games in the side.
Kompany said, via The Mirror: "I’ve always said John is one of the most talented defenders. He’s got such a bright future and he’s already achieved a lot, let’s not forget that. He’s not a young defender anymore that hasn’t got any experience. He’s a multiple Premier League-winning central defender who’s growing.
"But the one thing I wish for him is consistency - consistency of games and consistency of fitness. Then he will show the world how good he is.
He just has to get himself on the pitch, be himself and he’ll be fine. I’ve not seen signs of weakness I need to be worried about.
“He’s just a top-class defender. If now he gets to play games things will sort themselves out, no doubt.”
Although the pathway appears to be clear for Stones following Laporte's injury, Kompany has warned him that he must produce on the pitch, pointing to how Pep Guardiola demands high standards from everyone in the squad, ensuring that there is always competition for places.
Kompany added: "It’s a matter of survival. If this club didn’t have these kind of high standards, there’s no way it’d be able to compete in all the competitions. Everybody knows the reason why we’re so good is because we have this competition, so everybody encourages that."